Medicine Gone Wild

Dennis Perman’s

“Message of the Week” 

March 18, 2013

Last week I watched an ugly display of medicine gone wild on Sixty Minutes – 48 people died and dozens more were maimed by fungal contamination of steroid medication made by a small boutique pharmacy that shouldn’t have been manufacturing the quantity or type of products they were selling. They knew they were over their heads, and plunged forward anyway, with catastrophic results, as their carelessness caused widespread destruction and suffering. 

The majority of those patients had painful problems, often treated with steroids to reduce inflammation. This practice is of course misguided from our point of view, but is still commonly used and accepted by those who stand in legal and ethical judgment in the medical community. 

But when I searched for the number of people who died after chiropractic adjustments, I found only twenty-six deaths reported, mostly from vascular injury after manipulation — since 1934. That’s one death every three years, compared to tens of thousands, up to a hundred thousand every year from medical errors. And, it isn’t clear that these “manipulations” were even performed by chiropractors. 

If my math is right, that means that medicine is over 100,000 times, that would be 1,000,000%, more lethal than chiropractic. That safety ratio is incomprehensible to statisticians, yet travesties like this tainted drug scandal happen all too frequently, due to a cultural trance that causes people to accept this kind of disaster as a price we pay for modern medicine still in development. But after a century of chiropractic, our track record is far superior to our allopathic counterparts, and we need to trumpet that message from the highest hilltops until health care consumers realize the choice they have. 

Imagine what might have happened if these patients had tried chiropractic care first – or even better, if they were under regular nerve system maintenance and wellness care for a lifetime. But if at least they had started with a safer, more natural approach, because, well, that’s what people do when they have that kind of problem, there would have been a lot of lives saved and a lot of risk eliminated.

 What will it take? It’s a simple answer, one you’ve heard me scream about before.  

If every chiropractor told one person about the wonders of chiropractic each day, that would be over ten million people per year being educated – over the course of a decade, a hundred million health care consumers would learn about chiropractic. We’d hit critical mass in our society way before that – because we have a secret weapon no one can dispute. Chiropractic works miracles, and whether you look at clinical studies like the Mercer Report on back pain, or you investigate Clay Campbell’s serum thiol research that proves that chiropractic care is a major key to longevity and avoiding serious illness, we will ultimately be shown to have the upper hand as healers and wellness professionals. 

We need to be preparing right now for that eventuality – refine your articulation of the chiropractic story, and get in shape to see more people by enhancing your practice development skills, either on your own or with appropriate coaching. Design a practice you love, and build a volume that fulfills your dream – you deserve it, and your patients deserve that version of you.  

Dennis Perman DC,

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